Universal Motown Records to Distribute Casablanca Label

New York, New York, July 8, 2003…Universal Music Group, the world’s leading music company, has entered into an exclusive venture with Thomas D. Mottola to launch Casablanca Records, it was announced today by Doug Morris, Chairman & CEO of Universal Music Group, Mel Lewitner, Chairman & CEO of Universal Motown Records Group, and Mr. Mottola.

“We are delighted to be in business with Tommy and his dynamic team at Casablanca,” stated Mr. Morris. “For over a decade, he was the heart and soul of Sony’s creative success. Tommy brings to the company the same innovation and creativity that have been the hallmarks of everything he’s done in his storied career.”

“I have looked closely at the many opportunities which have been offered to me over the last several months, but none have had the right combination of elements to attract me like the one from Universal,” commented Mr. Mottola. “I could not ask for a better partner than Doug; our close friendship began over twenty years ago, and I am thrilled to be working with him now. I am also looking forward to working with Mel, whom I respect greatly, and the entire Universal Motown Records team to grow Casablanca into a worldwide success.”

“Tommy is a remarkably creative talent in his own right, who possesses the intuitive ability to build, strengthen and transform artists into powerful global brands,” added Mr. Lewinter. “And under his leadership, we are confident that Casablanca will provide the kind of organic environment needed for artists to develop, while at the same time benefiting from Universal Motown’s unique support system.”

As one of the most highly regarded and influential executives in the worldwide entertainment business, Mr. Mottola most recently served as Chairman and CEO Sony Music Entertainment. During his tenure, he transformed Sony into one of the most successful global music companies in history, expanding its businesses in over 60 countries, while creating one of the strongest management teams in the industry. Along the way, he developed and nurtured many of contemporary music’s top icons, from Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Gloria Estefan and Aerosmith, to Destiny’s Child, Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, Nas, the Dixie Chicks, Shakira and Marc Anthony, among many others.

A renowned trendsetter, Mr. Mottola has also been at the forefront of driving popular culture, creating a number of highly successful strategic co-branding initiatives, including superstar Celine Dion’s marketing partnership with Chrysler and an unprecedented and multifaceted global marketing campaign with Pepsi. Moreover, he revitalized Sony Music’s publishing division by securing the much sought after acquisition of Sony Tree and enabled Sony to become the first major music company to make available commercial digital downloads.

Mr. Mottola joined Sony (then CBS Records) in 1988 at age 37 as President of CBS Records, making him the youngest President in CBS history. A year later, after a restructuring of the company, he was named President of Sony Music. And in 1993, he was named Chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment. Prior to joining CBS, Mr. Mottola was one of music’s most prominent artist managers, who successfully launched the careers of such chart-toppers as Hall & Oates, Carly Simon and John Mellencamp.

Most recently, Mr. Mottola branched out into television production when leading music channel VH-1 approached him about developing a reality based television program centered around his unprecedented track record for discovering, nurturing and transforming female artists into worldwide superstar divas. Serving as Executive Producer, Mr. Mottola and VH-1 debuted Born to Diva earlier this year and enjoyed immediate success. Detailing an intercontinental musical search for the next diva, the program quickly garnered critical acclaim and launched its own dedicated following of fans through thousands of pieces of mail and hundreds of web sites from around the world.

Known also for his many philanthropic activities, Mr. Mottola serves on the Board of Directors of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Police Athletic League, T.J. Martell Foundation for Cancer, Leukemia and AIDS Research, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation and Museum, and the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation.

Universal Music Group is the world’s leading music company with wholly-owned record operations or licensees in 71 countries around the world. Its businesses also include Universal Music Publishing Group, one of the industry’s largest global music publishing operations. Universal Music Group consists of record labels Decca Record Company, Deutsche Grammophon, Interscope Geffen A&M Records, Island Def Jam Music Group, MCA Nashville, MCA Records, Mercury Records, Motown Records, Philips, Polydor, Universal Records and Verve Music Group, as well as a multitude of record labels owned or distributed by its record company subsidiaries around the world. Universal Music Group owns the most extensive catalog of music in the industry, which is marketedthrough two distinct divisions, Universal Music Enterprises (in the U.S.) and UM3 (outside the U.S.). Universal Music Group also includes eLabs, its division dedicated to strategy, business development, and management of new businesses in the online and advanced technology space.

Universal Music Group is a unit of Vivendi Universal, a global media and communications company.